Brazing Safety for HVACR Technicians

Safety tips
Safety tips

Soldering, brazing, welding and cutting operations present some specific hazards. Flammable materials near the work area need to be protected from heat and sparks by using shields or wetting the materials. Fire extinguishers should always be kept in close proximity while torches are being used. Always wear appropriate clothing, gloves and eye protection while working around welding/brazing equipment. Always practice the following:

  • Check the equipment for leaks using an approved oil-free leak detection fluid. Make sure the gas cylinders are store in an upright position and fastened securely to prevent them from tipping or falling.
  • Shutting off the regulators before opening the cylinder valve will prevent sudden excessive pressure from damaging the internal parts of the regulator. Open the cylinder valve slowly and then the regulator can be adjusted.
  • It is recommended that reverse-flow valves be installed in the system either on the regulator or the torch body, reducing the possibility of gases mixing in the hoses and/or the regulators. In the event of a flashback fire, the combustible gases will burn rapidly. This can result in an explosion in the hoses, the regulators or the cylinders. If the condition arises, always shut off the oxygen cylinder first before closing the fuel cylinder valve.
  • Before lighting the torch, always purge the system to reduce the possibility of a mixed-gas condition in the equipment. This could result in a fire or violent explosion. Purging must be done in a well-ventilated area away from any open flames or other sources of ignition.
  • Open the fuel gas torch valve 1/8 turn and ignite the fuel gas using an approved friction spark lighter. Slowly open the oxygen torch valve until the flame is neutralized. Increase the fuel gas torch valve another 1/8 turn. Increase the oxygen flow until the flame is neutralized. Repeat this procedure until the maximum volume of fuel is used and the desired flame is achieved. This is important to obtain the most efficient flame and to cool the tip during the operation. Failure to force a sufficient amount of fuel gas through the tip will cause the tip to overheat and may cause a flashback or backfire.

Excerpt from “Technical Institute Manual 2” from the online store at RSES (Refrigeration Service Engineers Society), the HVACR Training Authority.

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